Turfgrass Field Day Showcases PSM Science

It was a beautiful day on the green for hundreds of guests, staff, and researchers who enjoyed brilliant presentations, lunch al fresco, and ample sunshine.

Ryan Bears demonstrates growing sod on plastic. 

Jason Nealis, groundskeeper for the City of Ann Arbor, looked on while research assistant Ryan Bearss and graduate student Jake Kilby described the methods for experimenting with growing sod on plastic, testing sod for strength and move-ability, and findings related to plant growth regulators effects on sod grown indoors. “I’m most interested in learning about the performance of the different grass varieties under adverse conditions,” Nealis said.

Holm Lab Members prepare for Turfgrass Day Presentation
Two images above - Emily Merewitz-Holm and her lab had findings related to mowing height impacts ice encasement and turf over-winter performance.

Fortunately, Michigan provides numerous adverse conditions to challenge sod managers and scientists. Emily Merewitz-Holm and her plant physiology lab highlighted their findings related to mowing heights, ice encasement and overwintering success. “We found that increasing mowing height improves performance in ice encasement,” said Kailey Miller, a graduate student who got her Bachelor of Science degree in plant science at MSU, and is now returning for her PhD with Dr. Merewitz-Holm. Kailey did her master’s abroad in Germany.

Research associate Michael Itam from Nigeria had news to share about his study on the effects of drought, while giving his presentation at the rain-out shelter. Grad student Devendra Prasad Chalise from Nepal also spoke to the group.                                                                                                              

Jake Kilby Masters Student gives a presentation on Sports Turf.
Masters Student Jake Kilby demonstrates a FIFA soccer ball drop test.

Graduate student Jake Kilby demonstrates how the experimental sod is tested for FIFA standards. “The ball rebound is the most important result to all of this,” Jake said. “Bounce is measured with acoustically and the data is translated into centimeters.”

Mike Wenglikowski, grounds keeper at Saginaw Valley State University found the FIFA soccer turf project information a great bonus to the day’s presentations. “It's so cool to see the sod on plastics results. Very interesting.” 

Jacob Rice (left) and Doug Schafer of the MDARD Department of Technology, Management & Budget

After a full morning of presentations in the field, Jacob Rice (left) and Doug Schafer of the MDARD Department of Technology, Management & Budget enjoy lunch under the tent. “We’re here for the pesticide applicators credits. But seeing the sod on plastic and the magnitude of the experiments for the FIFA turf is really cool,” Rice said. “It’s impressive,” said Schafer.

Payton Perkinson  speaks to WLIZ Channel 10 News about the perks of the program, including scholarships, while Trey Rogers and Carey Mitchelson, executive director of the Michigan Turf Foundation look on.

“This program is full of amazing opportunities for students” said Carey Mitchelson, executive director of the Michigan Turf Foundation. For example, “Internships and job placements in some of the most desirable places in the world!” In addition, Mitchelson notes that enrollment in the program has increased for the second consecutive year.

Learn more about scholarship opportunities with the Michigan Turfgrass Foundation: https://michiganturfgrassfoundation.wildapricot.org/news/12977091

Decorative Michigan Turfgrass Foundation.

Michigan Turfgrass Foundation Field Day Roundup Official Website:  https://michiganturfgrassfoundation.wildapricot.org/MSU-Fieldgrass-Field-Day

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